Mijares with Thomas Howell, Kyle Cobb and Will Breakell, owner of Blazy Susan.EXPAND
Mijares with Thomas Howell, Kyle Cobb and Will Breakell, owner of Blazy Susan.
Courtesy of Lance Mijares

Turnt Up TV Broadcasts the Voices of Denver Hip-Hop

Six years ago, Lance Mijares was sitting in the laundry room of his daughter's mother's home, recording a hip-hop podcast between paying jobs. He'd grown up making music and listening to hip-hop, and he'd always admired the talent of Denver artists, which he says rivals that of national acts. Finally, he decided to create a platform to showcase it.

He recalls those humble beginnings of Turnt Up TV with fondness.

"At the time, we weren’t getting that many people to tune in. I know for a fact: I would check the listens, and it’d say one listen, and I know that one listen was my mom," Mijares says with a laugh. He would ask himself why he was making the show for one person, but he knew the answer: "I believed in it. And I kept pushing it."

Mijares started bringing on co-hosts, recording daily with Spreaker and he found that more and more artists wanted to come on Turnt Up because it was a way to get their music heard. It also helped that artists and their social followings circulated the episodes online.

Eventually, Turnt Up TV gained the attention of iHeartRadio.

"That was big for us, because we were really the only independent podcast from Colorado," Mijares says of iHeart."It gave us credibility to go to artists and be like, 'Hey, we are the only place you can get your music and interview on iHeartRadio.'"

When iHeart dropped Turnt Up in 2016, Mijares thought it would diminish his audience. He persevered using Spreaker, though, and credits the show's lasting success to consistency and a loyal fan base.

But while the podcast was bringing in some money, it wasn't enough for him to work on it full-time. Instead, Mijares made ends meet however he could, serving as a high school wrestling coach, delivering sandwiches, working as a locksmith. "A year ago, I was in a really bad spot personally," he recalls. "I was doing a job I didn’t like, I was away from family and friends, I was isolated, and I wasn’t taking care of myself like I should. I had the signs on my wall for Turnt Up TV and Iooked at it all the time, and I would think, 'Man, is that done? Would there ever be another show?'"

Lance MijaresEXPAND
Lance Mijares
Courtesy of Lance Mijares

His mother talked him into attending Colorado Media School, which offers broadcasting certifications. Not only did Mijares graduate, but he also got an internship at FLO 107.1, and now works as a full-time producer for the Larry and Kathie morning show .

"That was a turning point. Now I see it for what it was, and if I didn’t get out of that spot, none of these things would have happened," he says. "I figured out ways to make it work, and that’s how I know radio was my calling. If I didn’t know, I don’t think I would go through all that to put myself in this position."

Over the years, Turnt Up TV has logged more than 400 episodes on Spreaker, with such prominent local artists as Trev Rich, Ray Reed and  Kayla Rae. The format of the show is relaxed; Mijares wants the artists who come on to feel like this is their time to share all the work that they've done advancing Denver hip-hop. "For me, I’ve been that person where I want to build something bigger," Mijares says.

In order to do so, he'd like to turn his attention entirely to his full-time gig and ultimately pass his baby along to someone else. "I hope to fade myself out with Turnt Up TV as a host and bring someone else in and give someone else an opportunity," he says. "That’s what I’ve always wanted to do."

Lance Mijares and Kyle Cobb.
Lance Mijares and Kyle Cobb.
Courtesy of Lance Mijares

In the meantime, he's had some great moments with his podcast. It's hard for Mijares to pick his favorite episode, but one that sticks out was his interview with DJ Squizzy Taylor. Although Taylor works at KS-107.5, he travels the country as a DJ and has worked with artists like Rick Ross, T.I., Snoop Dogg and more.

"As busy as he was, the first time I asked him to be on, he was so pumped, and he was a fan of the show," Mijares recalls. "That’s what meant a lot: For him to tell his story, where’s he gone, everything that he has been able to do for Squizzy Gang, that was big for us, because he didn’t have to take the time to sit with us."

Mijares thinks Denver is starting to take its hip-hop scene more seriously. Not only does his show have unexpected fans, but he's noticed that local artists are selling out venues like the Bluebird, the Fillmore and the Gothic as often as national artists.

"I guarantee if I put one of these songs on and didn’t tell you it was a local artist," he says, "you would vibe and you would jam just like any other artist came on."

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